Dear Editor

I’m currently studying for a certificate in Horticulture through the Open Polytechnic of NZ. It is quite interesting, but it is filled with irrelevant cultural information. This course is supposed to be based on science. It is filled with information on how Maori felt about plants and soil, what they called soil and believed about soil. FEELINGS AND BELIEFS injected into the science of growing plants.

This is not relevant to the course. All I want to know is how to grow plants! Proving my point is the fact that none of that cultural stuff was asked in the assessments. Not one single word. Maybe if they also gave some information on how early Europeans farmed when they landed in New Zealand I wouldn’t feel so annoyed. If they had done that, at least there would be some balance, but there is none. It’s all one-sided.

The science is fascinating and fun, I love that part. I don’t like culture duck taped onto the science. I don’t want things forced on me. Like most people I become resentful when things are forced on me. They have a feedback option at the end of each course and I used the opportunity to vent.

“Please take the cultural information out of this course.
In no way does it help me to understand soil and how to grow plants.
None of the cultural stuff was asked in the assessments. Why? Because that information has nothing to do with how soil works and how plants grow (don’t go put it into assessments after this feedback to try and make it relevant to the course).
I don’t want to know how Maori, Europeans in the middle ages, Vikings, Ancient Egyptians, Zulus or the Khoisan grew plants, what they called plants and how they felt about soil.
This information is not relevant to growing plants and how to care for soil today.
If I wanted to know about cultures, I would take a course in cultures.”

I am using my free speech while I still have it. I don’t for a minute think that they will actually change the course, but I definitely feel a bit better.

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